The IT Crowd is a popular cult sitcom from writer Graham Linehan (Father Ted and Black Books) and producer Ash Atalla (The Office, Clone). Their comedy takes a surreal look at the 'underclass' of a company - the Information Technology department. It focuses on the fictional Reynholm Industries, specifically its computer department, which is staffed by Roy, Moss and Jen. Whilst the rest of the company works upstairs in fantastic surroundings, these three have been banished to the horrible dark basement. If you've seen the series, you'll probably understand why...
Socially-awkward Roy and Moss are total geeks, whilst Jen on the other hand doesn't really even know how to turn on a computer! The reason she must join the boys in the basement is that she embellished the truth in her interview with Reynholm, and thus has been un-wisely appointed as the IT Relationship Manager.
Roy is played by Chris O'Dowd, who prior to The IT Crowd won a Scottish BAFTA for his role in the FilmFour comedy Festival. Meanwhile Richard Ayoade plays Moss. Prior to starring in this sitcom, Ayoade was probably best known for his work alongside long-time writing partner Matthew Holness as co-creator of the award-winning and very funny cult sitcom Garth Marenghi's Darkplace. Richard already knew O'Dowd before they began filming, as he too had a part in Festival.
Meanwhile before The IT Crowd Katherine Parkinson, who plays Jen, could be seen on TV as Pauline in the ITV comedy drama series Doc Martin. Chris O'Dowd had a prior connection with her too - he studied drama at LAMDA with Katherine.
Much of the buzz around the first series was due to the fact that 'comedy God' Chris Morris was playing the role of Denholm, the company boss. However, Morris decided to leave the project after the first series (although he did appear in Episode 2.2) and thus the company entered a new era with a new boss in the form of Douglas Reynholm, the son of Denholm. Douglas is played by Matt Berry, who previously starred with Ayoade in Darkplace.
There is technically a fourth member of the IT team in the basement, although he is rarely seen. Richmond, a depressed goth, played by The Mighty Boosh star Noel Fielding, hides away in a side room. The character hasn't been seen recently but writer Graham Linehan says he hopes Richmond will appear again one day.
In addition to the above cast, the show features a wealth of cameos from the British comedy scene. The show's credits has so far included the likes of Adam Buxton (The Adam And Joe Show), Oliver Chris (Green Wing), Nicholas Burns (Nathan Barley) and Alex MacQueen (Pulling, The Thick Of It]).
Around 2006, when The IT Crowd was launched, there was much talk in the industry about the
death of the British sitcom. At the time it was therefore quite a talking point that Graham Linehan had deliberately opted to go back to the traditional studio audience format for this sitcom. Looking back it was a plan that clearly worked as not only is The IT Crowd doing well for Channel 4 but, since then, sitcoms like Not Going Out have being picking up good ratings too.
Whilst The IT Crowd may be a very 'old-skool' sitcom, and all the better it is for it, the show has still broken new ground. It became the first comedy to be premiered on the Channel 4 website before being broadcast on TV, and was also was the comedy used by Channel 4 to promote their new thirty-day catch-up service on 4oD when that first launched.
November 2008 saw the start of the third series of The IT Crowd. Against the odds, Roy, Moss and Jen continued to be employed by Reynholm Industries as IT consultants. Their sometimes fragile friendship was reinforced when they became the victims of sexual harassment, created a fundraising erotic calendar together, confronted the builder from hell, inadvertently assisted with a robbery and joined a social networking site. Despite attempts to leave the basement of the IT dept, Jen is quickly humiliated into returning to Roy and Moss, while they in turn are lost without her.
Meanwhile their boss Douglas, suffered a string of self-inflicted calamities in this most recent series: he shot himself in the leg, donned a pair of electro shock therapy pants to control sexual desire and, even though he is the MD, managed to reduce Reynholm Industries to near bankruptcy.
The fourth series sees Jen looking for new challenges and applying to be the Entertainment Officer, Moss beating all records on a popular spelling show and Roy spending a disproportionate amount of time trying to convince an old friend that he is not a window cleaner. Inevitably, there's naked aerobics, bunking off work, marriages and divorces.
A final episode of the show will broadcast at the end of the month.